The stranger handed the candle to a young girl

A stranger was on a pilgrimage to Kashi. One evening, he rested in a village. The villagers were kind and helpful. They offered him food to eat and a place to stay. As he got ready to leave the next morning, his host had a word with him, “As you go north, there is a village called Jhootagav – the village of lies. Avoid this village. You will not find a single kind soul there. The villagers lie, quarrel, and cheat each other. Truth has fled from that place.”

The pilgrim thanked his host and left. It was noon when he reached a village, where he rested under a tree. He did not know he was in Jhootagav.

A group ofmen decided to play a prank on the visitor. They lighted a candle in broad daylight and started walking towards him. “What are you doing here in the middle of the night?” they asked.

The pilgrim looked up – the sun was shining bright. He looked at the candle they were holding.

“You seem to be a traveller. Would you like to carry this candle with you?” asked one of the men.

“You have to pay for it. We will accept your gold chain,” said the other helpfully.

The third one forcefully snatched the chain as the first man thrust the lighted candle in his hand.

The pilgrim looked at the lighted candle in his hand. “Alas, there is so much darkness here,” he said.

The next moment, the tricksters were in a shock. It turned pitch dark. They could hardly see each other. The only thing they could see was the candle light, which was moving away from them.

From that day onwards, the village did not see a sunrise. Candles could not be lit. Jhootgav now became Andhergav, the village of darkness.

With no sunlight, no work could be done. No crops could be grown. Other villages shunned the villagers of Andhergav. No one ever entered or left Andhergav.

Months passed, or may be days – who could tell without the sun?

One day a child started crying. She was convinced it was Diwali. She wanted to light lamps. But no one could light anything in the village.

At that moment, the villagers saw a light flickering at a distance. It got brighter.It seemed to be moving closer. Then they saw a man holding a candle in his hand.He was the same pilgrim who had passed through that village.

Attracted by the candle in his hand, a little girl came running to him, “It is light. You are holding light, uncle.”

By then all the villagers had gathered. They watched as the pilgrim handed the candle to the child.”Let there be light in the heart, child,” he said softly.

The elders hung their heads in shame. The three men who had tricked the pilgrim fell at his feet begging for forgiveness.

The child broke into smile as she shouted, “Light! Light at last!”

Then there was dazzling light. The whole village was lit by the blazing sun.Villagers sank to ground, raising their hands in salutation to the sun. “Darkness gone. Light is here,” whispered an old woman.

The pilgrim meanwhile had disappeared. But Diwali had come to that village, which is now called Divagaon, the village of lamps.

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